Reliability, validity and responsiveness of a smartphone-based manikin to support pain self-reporting

Sabine N. van der Veer, S. Mustafa Ali, Ziqiao Yu, John Mcbeth, Alessandro Chiarotto, Ben James, William G. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. Improving our knowledge on chronic pain prevalence and management requires methods to collect pain self-reports in large populations. Smartphone-based tools could aid data collection by allowing people to use their own device but the measurement properties of such tools are largely unknown.

Assess the reliability, validity and responsiveness of a smartphone-based manikin to support pain self-reporting.

We recruited people with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and/or osteoarthritis and access to a smartphone and the internet. Data collection included the Global Pain Scale at baseline and followup, and 30 daily pain drawings completed on a two-dimensional, gender-neutral manikin. After deriving participants’ pain extent from their manikin drawings, we evaluated convergent and discriminative validity, test-retest reliability and responsiveness, and assessed findings against
internationally agreed criteria for good measurement properties.

We recruited 131 people; 104 were included in the full sample, submitting 2,185 unique pain drawings. Manikin-derived pain extent had excellent test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.94), moderate convergent validity (ρ, 0.46), and an ability to distinguish fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis from rheumatoid arthritis (F statistics, 30.41 and 14.36, respectively; p<0.001).
Responsiveness was poor (ρ, 0.2; p, 0.06) and did not meet the respective criterion for good measurement properties.

Our findings suggest that smartphone-based manikins can be a reliable and valid method for pain self-reporting, but that further research is warranted to explore, enhance and confirm the ability of such manikins to detect a change in pain over time.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE1131
Journal Pain Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


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